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What are the advantages of digital workflows in industrial companies?


The standard case of travel expense accounting thus shows where the potential of central, digital workflows lies. From procurement logistics to the ticket system and from marketing to smart maintenance - there are virtually no limits to the possibilities of using well-defined workflows.

If workflows are really handled digitally, they can first be broken down into their individual parts:

  • Initially, the steps that are necessary in the work process to achieve the goals are defined. It is important, above all, how the steps are logically and temporally related to each other.
  • Subsequently, individual tasks can be determined and provided with deadlines and priorities.
  • The employees or engineer groups are assigned to the tasks by a simple mouse click.
  • Reminders automatically remind employees of their due to-dos.

Thanks to such modern tools, decision makers and project managers can view all running workflows at any time - including their status. Direct reference can be made to possible bottlenecks in process chains and provide impulses for sustainable process optimization.

Can workflows be displayed in ERP systems?

Workflows can reach their full potential whenever processes are complex or dynamic, employees share information and quality and speed are important. But: Workflows are not a sweeping panacea. If there are fundamental deficits in the organizational structure of the company, the predefined processes alone cannot provide the desired increase in efficiency. However, they lead to process participants generally dealing more intensively with the current processes. Are our old processes really well structured? Are there areas that we can improve? What is going well and should be adopted? This is exactly where the ERP system comes in: Workflow management systems - or even complete business process management - can be fully integrated. This, in turn, enables cross-departmental data exchange with all functional areas of the ERP software. In addition, this user interface is already familiar to all users.

How exactly do workflows work?

Every day, company employees routinely do a lot of things. For these "standard tasks" or complete scenarios, there are again fixed processes that are either actually defined as such or have become naturalized over the years. One of the most well-known examples of such a workflow is travel expense accounting. It is a process that is the same in many companies, foreseeable and has a fixed start and end point: Workflow Management - More efficiency through standardized processes. 

1. The employee records the travel expenses.

2. He then sends the request for reimbursement of travel expenses to the supervisor.

3. He either rejects the request or gives his approval.

4. In the event of a refusal, the request goes back to the employee. In most cases with the request for adjustment of faulty passages.

5. If a release is made, the travel expense document will be created.

6. Once the creation is complete, the receipt goes to the HR department and the open amount is transferred.

This fixed scheme means that fewer errors happen. In addition, efficiency is increased because everybody always knows when to do what.

But: Just because the current workflow works does not mean that it cannot be optimized. In this case, for example, an ERP system or generally a cross-departmental software could increase efficiency: With an app, the employee could already record his expenses during the trip and transmit them automatically. The system also automatically checks travel expenses. Unless there are discrepancies, billing goes on to Human Resources and Accounting, where a payment is automatically made to the employee. As a result, the supervisor saves time in travel expense accounting and only has to intervene manually in the event of discrepancies that are detected by the system.

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